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suited to their inclinations; and their horses were permitted to browze upon the grass which the valley afforded.
A little refreshment was necessary to all after their march, and while they were taking it, Lord William submitted to his companions the propriety of remaining awhile on the spot where they now were, and dispatching from thence a spy or two, to gain, if possible, information of the enemy's situation. This proposal appeared to Irwin and Donald so perfectly judicious, that they strongly recommended its being put into execution without delay; and three of their party were accordingly chosen for the purpose.
One of these three was one of their guides, and to him Donald made it understood in what direction to proceed for gaining the desired information. It was not till this scrutinizing party was dispatched, that the Baron himself began to taste the refreshments which were ne
cessary to the support of his strength; and as he pressed Donald to join with him in his meal, he perceived that the youth's fatigue was so great as to have entirely deprived him of a wish for food : he drank willingly of a flask of ale which Irwin offered him, but he refused all substantial nourishment; his agitation appeared every moment to be increasing, and the Baron besought him to endeavour to compose his mind, and not to suffer the recollection of the past, or the anticipation of the future, thus to harrass his feelings, as it would entirely unfit him for the enterprize they were shortly to rush upon.
The youth replied-" Fear me not, my Lord; agitated as I am, and violently. too, believe me, that joy affects me more than pain, and that I will do my duty when we meet Allaurod-would to God that the moment was come!"
A shrill whistle, blown through the fingers at this moment, called the atten
tion of the Baron, and he saw two of his spies returning with the utmost speed down the steep side of a mountain. The Baron sprang up to meet them, and as soon as they could be heard-"The enemy! the enemy!" burst from their lips.
"Do they come?" exclaimed Donald. "Thank Heaven! thank Heaven!"
Instantly the drum beat to arms, and Lord William and his men snatched up their rested weapons; every one was, in as short a time as possible, in a posture of defence; and, quick as were their movements, they had not an instant to spare; for already a body of freebooters appeared at the mouth of the only avenue which the Baron belieyed practicable for leaving the glen. To escape from the circle of danger which was environing them, Lord William thought the only means, to rush through the enemy by the strength of arms; and their only chance of conquering, to attack them on a level
ground; as the fortune of the war must be indisputably against them, were the event hazarded in a spot where the enemy had the advantage of height over them, as they had in the present instance.
He had little time for reflection, but he could not help repenting that he had not marched earlier on the preceding evening from his own castle, which would have prevented his present surprise.
The enemy, aware of the Baron's intention of forcing a passage through them for his troops, stationed their strength at the point for which he was making, and opposed his approach towards it with the most obstinate vigour. Equally resolute did Lord William's men shew themselves in their attempt at gaining the pass; and a most severe contest ensued, in which the freebooters were repeatedly driven back, by the skilful use made by the English soldiers of their fire-arms; but although frequently repulsed, they returned,
turned, with the violence of wolves, to the attack; and the party of De Mowbray had still gained but little progress. towards the mouth of the valley.
For a time, the effects of steady discipline and regular tactics prevailed eminently over savage ferocity and irregular vehemence; but, Lord William now made a discovery, uncomfortable in the extreme to his feelings, which was, that the troops of the Scottish banditti, as repeatedly as they were driven back, returned to the combat with increased numbers; which discovery brought with it the sad conviction, that Allanrod had already collected his forces into one body, contrary to the opinion of Donald, or the still more to be dreaded apprehension that Donald himself was an impostor.
He looked around for him, and perceiving him mixing in the English ranks, the momentary doubt which had arisen in his mind of his truth, was dispelled, and he now thought that he had only